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New England Methodists list divestment targets

The New England conference of the United Methodist Church listed companies targeted for divestment because of their dealings with Israel.

The New England conference, which voted to divest in 2005, is one of several branches of the church to have considered divestment.

Last month, the conference’s divestment task force published a list of 20 companies it will recommend to the conference’s investment managers for divestment. It said it approached 21 companies; only nine replied, and only one had an “excuse” deemed adequate by the task force.

The list seems broader than some other divestment proposals: In addition to companies like Caterpillar and Volvo, targeted by a number of divestment movements for supplying bulldozers that have destroyed Palestinian homes believed to have harbored militants, the Methodist list targets companies that supply equipment that are used in the occupation but are also critical to Israel’s non-occupation defense needs. These include Globecomm Systems and ITT, which supply Israel’s army with communication systems and night vision goggles.

Other choices seem supportive of the aims of Palestinian terrorist groups: Motorola is targeted for “enhancing security” at West Bank settlements.

Also targeted is Blockbuster, the video rental company, which the Methodist conference singles out for making settlements “appealing.”

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